The Purpose-driven Go-getter: An Interview with Kelvin Chua

Summary. Kelvin believes in communicating emotions through his lens. He tells Socium how he does it.

“Many of my classmates took four years to specialise. I took four years to realise”. 

Kelvin realised that engineering was not his cup of tea nearing the end of his four-year study. But the passionate storyteller has since made up for the lost years by clocking in more than 10 years of rich experience as a content creator.

Kelvin, who graduated with a engineering degree, never thought he would enter the creative industry. He made his mark as a photographer-videographer in the wedding industry before expanding his portfolio into the corporate scene.

From traversing mountains with wedding couples, scrutinising gemstones, to witnessing the IPO of one of Singapore’s most valuable companies, Kelvin believes that the success of any production is the connection and relationship he has with his clients. He is convinced that with strong relations, comes trust, and with trust, comes the best creative juices. This strong conviction guides him as he leads a team of young individuals in video production, creating fresh and engaging content for clients from diverse fields.

How did you find your path to videography?

Kelvin: I started out with photography in 2001 when I was still in junior college. Back then, I was an active member of the adventure club, where we did lots of hiking overseas. I picked up my first SLR camera (not DSLR) along with some others on the team, and we started doing nature and landscape photography during our expeditions.

My interest in photography continued to grow when I went on to university. That was when I got my first assignment as a wedding photographer for a friend from church. That first experience opened up windows of opportunities for me, where I covered two more weddings for friends. Those projects became part of my portfolio when I graduated. However, being a videographer or entering the media sector was never part of the game plan. After graduation, just like many others, I applied for a government job, but the selection and interview process took really long. Being a photography enthusiast on social media when Facebook was the hype, I took the leap of faith to email one of the wedding companies to see if they had any openings. Within two weeks, I got a job. The salary was half of what the government would pay, but I decided to follow my heart instead of waiting for the higher dollar offer. In less than two years, I became a lead photographer and one of the senior videographers in the company.

Kelvin Chua photography | Klick Culture | Socium
Kelvin's content creation journey started more than 20 years ago when he started with photography in college. This passion has brought him around the world with his camera and crew.

Why weddings?

One of the biggest differences between wedding videos and corporate ones is that for weddings, we serve the end user, who is the wedding couple themselves. Whereas corporate projects feel less personal, and the emotional attachment is less strong.

When the final product is presented to the wedding couple, the smiles and satisfaction reflected on their faces immediately fuels the contentment and pride in the craft work. The joy of knowing that you have made a tremendous impact on someone’s life, is something that you don’t often experience through corporate assignments. Nonetheless, corporate projects do offer a larger playing field and open us up to a greater diversity of opportunities. It’s ultimately important to not lay all your eggs in the same basket.

How do you think videography complements strategic communications?

Creative design is an important element of clear and effective communication. Videography, as a creative tool, captures and communicates emotions. The connection and resonance videos create help to capture the attention of your audience, and build trust and credibility among all. For corporates, videography helps to bridge the gap between how others perceive the organisation and how it lives up to its values.

From statistics, it is clear how videography has transformed consumers’ behaviour, content curation, how we run advertising campaigns etc. I have always liked this analogy from one of my mentors: If photography is an expansion of time, videography is a compression of time. The longer we look at a photo, the more we think and imagine about what happens behind the scene. On the other hand, videos require you to compress all the events across a long duration to present a succinct story in a few minutes, sometimes even in seconds. That is one of the reasons why videography is sometimes said to be information-heavy.

What motivated you to pursue your PhD now, after more than a decade of experience in operations and auditing?

One of the biggest differences between wedding videos and corporate ones is that for weddings, we serve the end user, who is the wedding couple themselves. Whereas corporate projects feel less personal, and the emotional attachment is less strong.

When the final product is presented to the wedding couple, the smiles and satisfaction reflected on their faces immediately fuels the contentment and pride in the craft work. The joy of knowing that you have made a tremendous impact on someone’s life, is something that you don’t often experience through corporate assignments. Nonetheless, corporate projects do offer a larger playing field and open us up to a greater diversity of opportunities. It’s ultimately important to not lay all your eggs in the same basket.

How do you think videography complements strategic communications?

Creative design is an important element of clear and effective communication. Videography, as a creative tool, captures and communicates emotions. The connection and resonance videos create help to capture the attention of your audience, and build trust and credibility among all. For corporates, videography helps to bridge the gap between how others perceive the organisation and how it lives up to its values.

From statistics, it is clear how videography has transformed consumers’ behaviour, content curation, how we run advertising campaigns etc. I have always liked this analogy from one of my mentors: If photography is an expansion of time, videography is a compression of time. The longer we look at a photo, the more we think and imagine about what happens behind the scene. On the other hand, videos require you to compress all the events across a long duration to present a succinct story in a few minutes, sometimes even in seconds. That is one of the reasons why videography is sometimes said to be information-heavy.

Kelvin Chua videography work | Socium
Kelvin feels that videography is one of the most popular and effective means of visual storytelling in this increasingly fast-paced digital age.

Digital photography and videography have become an indispensable part of digital communications today, and both engage consumers’ differently. In photography, users take the initiative to engage and intepret the content that is presented in the photo, while videos feed users with information. We all know how video content can make us laugh, cry, or even have nightmares. That’s the power of visual cues. Apart from just triggering pockets of emotions, these can be put together, to effectively bring across a message to the audience.

And this is the essence of strategic communications – communicating and presenting in the best way possible, for your consumers, and for yourself.

What would you advise individuals who want to pursue the creative industry?

Go for passion first, discover the incentives later.

It is important to realise what kind of person you are and what you are good at; and this, no doubt, requires exposure. It is common for individuals to be less demanding on themselves in how proficient they are with their work, but in the creative and communications industry, it is a lot about putting your proficiencies to test. Give yourself a shot at what you’re passionate about, but also dare to acknowledge your weaknesses. At the end of the day, you want to find a passion that you can make a living out of. On this note, I always hold this quote close to my heart:, “Be true to yourself, be brutal to yourself”.

What is videography to you?

In an increasingly fast-paced digital age, videography has become one of the most popular and effective means of visual storytelling, and many individuals and organisations have utilised them to great effect. Given its popularity and influence on social media, utilising visual communication tools as a form of strategic communication is here to stay. That said, videography is my life. It has progressed to the point where I could not imagine how my life would be without it.

Suite Spot

The Suite Spot is Socium’s series of interviews that look into the minds of C-suites. What drives their business strategies and their decision-making process?  What role does communications take in their plans and what is their impact on the organisation’s success? Last but not least, how do these leaders walk the talk?

Find out more in conversation with C-suites with Socium’s Suite Spot.

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